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Should've Ridden Your Bikes

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 5, 2007 5:30PM

2007_07_Orange_Line.jpgWe didn't attend the fireworks display downtown Tuesday night. But we did see waves of humanity flocking to the lakefront as early as noon flowing off the trains with their coolers and lawn chairs, staking their claims to Monroe Harbor like it was the Oklahoma land rush.

We wonder what time most of those same folks made it back home Tuesday night, because the elevated tracks were shut down for over an hour. The shutdown occurred when a spring on an inbound Green Line train that served as a suspension broke, automatically cutting power to that and five other trains on the Green, Brown, and Orange Lines, leaving passengers packed on those trains like sardines stewing and sweltering. Compounding everything was a lack of communication by CTA regarding the reason for the shutdown. CTA President Ron Huberman apologized yesterday, calling the shutdown an "inconvenience" but praising CTA workers for placing safety first in removing some of those passengers from the trains and re-routing them onto buses. An "inconvenience" is someone having to choose Absolut at a bar when it's out of Ketel One or Stoli. With packed trains full of people getting increasingly agitated in stuffy cars, CTA was lucky that nothing worse happened than the isolated incidents of pushing and shoving that were reported.

It's common here to pile on CTA when things like this happen. But they happen too often, which is why we pile on. Some riders were quoted in both newspapers as saying that they received no explanation for the shutdown, or vague (at best) updates as to when the condition on the tracks would be fixed. If the CTA wants to improve its image with the citizens it's purported to serve, they could start by talking to them. It's amazing how just a little bit of communication can go a long way

Image Courtesy of Steve Vance.